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How the US Lost Out On iPhone Work

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the we're-high-maintenance dept.

Businesses 1303

Hugh Pickens writes "Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year are manufactured overseas. 'It isn't just that workers are cheaper abroad,' write Charles Duhig and Keith Bradsher. 'Rather, Apple's executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have outpaced their American counterparts so much that "Made in the U.S.A." is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.' Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option and recount the time Apple redesigned the iPhone's screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. 'The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,' says one Apple executive. 'There's no American plant that can match that.' Apple's success has benefited the U.S. economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. But ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"

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Yeah...but (-1, Troll)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780225)

It is true that it is not Apple's job to cure America's ills. But, if you could use some of that famed 'war chest' of cash to at least try, it would make you less of a bunch of dicks.

Re:Yeah...but (-1, Flamebait)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780291)

How can they use that cash when majority of US people are rather unemployed than move to places with jobs (especially for jobs that are actually hard work). It's a problem with western people, not Apple.

Re:Yeah...but (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780301)

Yeah... because when you are unemployed and have no money (and the housing market sucks) it's so SUPER easy to move to a place with jobs! Gosh, why didn't people think of that. We could have solved this problem years ago and have a 0% unemployment rate!

Re:Yeah...but (0, Flamebait)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780321)

What's the problem really? You don't need to buy a house just to move somewhere. If Asian people can do it, why can't US people? It's just a matter of not wanting to do it and general laziness.

Re:Yeah...but (4, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780329)

American companies don't usually have dormitories and everyone is up to their eyes in mortgage because for the past few decades having a big mortgage was the thing to do.

Re:Yeah...but (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780345)

Luckily thru a combination of ageism and contract law, those problems are almost gone already. Lets say you've got a decade window of productivity between "too young and inexperienced" and "too old". If housing prices have been in a freefall for "around 5 years" we're already halfway thru that crisis.

Re: Yeah...but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780369)

Wait.. there are American companies with dormitories???

Re:Yeah...but (5, Insightful)

LordCrank (74800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780331)

Employees at Foxconn who put together iPhones earn 31 cents an hour. Clearly anyone who isn't willing to fly to China to get a 31 cent/hour job is too lazy to be employed.

Re:Yeah...but (-1, Troll)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780395)

Living costs are also much lower in China. And are you saying that there isn't a single job available in the US, not even in industries that aren't directly what you want to do or that require lots of manual hard work? People just don't want to do them if it doesn't interest them, isn't available where they happen to live or there's prejudices and "I'm too good for that job" against the work (ie., working as a burger flipper or a stripper).

Re:Yeah...but (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780453)

Shut the fuck you asshole. People cant live in this country on a McJob you faggot.

Re:Yeah...but (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780459)

Try paying for $1280 a month for health care and then pay rent, AND try to eat on a burger flipping job.

Go fuck your children's mouth you stupid piece of ape shit

Re:Yeah...but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780353)

Oh please... "general laziness and not wanting to do it", way to make broad generalizations. As if every Asian person in the world would up and leave where they grew up or have family to go find a job as well.

I would love to see you just pack up and leave to go somewhere where "jobs exists". Especially when you don't already have a job there already. That's quite a risky proposition and it's always easier said then done.

And you don't have to buy a house, but people probably have to sell them, and people can't sell them if others are buying them. Of course I guess if we all just rented and slaved to the slum lords this would all be no problem what so ever right? We can just rent from you and everything will be golden?

FYI - American workers are the most productive workers in the world. You have no argument for laziness.

Re:Yeah...but (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780413)

FYI - American workers are the most productive workers in the world. You have no argument for laziness.

Wtf? Do you really believe that? Perhaps in a study from 1942.

Re:Yeah...but (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780457)

FYI - American workers are the most productive workers in the world. You have no argument for laziness.

LOL!

Re:Yeah...but (1)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780467)

Oh please... "general laziness and not wanting to do it", way to make broad generalizations. As if every Asian person in the world would up and leave where they grew up or have family to go find a job as well.

I would love to see you just pack up and leave to go somewhere where "jobs exists". Especially when you don't already have a job there already. That's quite a risky proposition and it's always easier said then done.

Actually, many Asians do. On top of that, I have relocated to Asia because the living costs are cheaper (and it's nicer there) while my pay is still the same. Of course there is some risk involved, but usually things just work out if you aren't so strict about everything. People have done this from the beginning of time. Why do you think Rome spread, and why you do you think we as humans are living around the world and not just everyone in a single place we grow up at?

Re:Yeah...but (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780363)

because asian people get paid 65 cents an hour and live at the factory you stupid fuck

Re:Yeah...but (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780433)

What's the problem really?

Paying rent AND a mortgage.

Paying for the move itself ($thousands minimum, all up).

Uprooting your spouse and children from their jobs, school, social circles, etc.

Re:Yeah...but (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780343)

Yeah... because when you are unemployed and have no money (and the housing market sucks) it's so SUPER easy to move to a place with jobs! Gosh, why didn't people think of that. We could have solved this problem years ago and have a 0% unemployment rate!

I am Filipino Systems Engineer, over the last decade I have moved within 4 european countries, and 6 different cities because that is where the job is, so when I hear statement like this, i laugh at your first world problems and excuses.

Apples-Oranges comparison of countries (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780373)

With the US, there is plenty of room for various industries of differing scales, instead of having to specialize in supplying labor for other countries. What is it with your home country that makes it ill-suited for people to remain in it?

Re:Yeah...but (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780409)

I did IT work in the Philippines over a decade ago, exported from the UK when you kids needed external talent for almost anything computer-related.

Just because one in a thousand people in that country has the talent and the contacts to be able to move around the world finding jobs, it doesn't mean the lorry-loads of kids coming in from the villages just for the opportunity to work 12-14 hours a day in a nicely ventilated office/factory will be able to do the same. I imagine the same is true in China scaled up by over an order of magnitude.

Apple have just publicly stated, "The problem with the US workforce is that we don't have an underclass of residential workers in a jurisdiction which denies basic human and labour rights who dedicate their whole lives to building toys for an ever-shrinking middle class." Anyone who defends Apple after this is inhuman evil.

Re:Yeah...but (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780423)

Apple and other big corporations prefer foreign workers because they are basically slaves:

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames.

I consider it a perk, not a problem, to reserve the right to work only 8 hours a day not having to answer my phone if work calls after-hours.

As for you, the European companies hire you because you're cheap, not because you're smart.

Re:Yeah...but (4, Interesting)

Kahlandad (1999936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780393)

I recently (2 months ago) moved cross country. Sold ALL of my furniture and probably 90% of my personal possessions. Everything I now own fit into the back of a Chevy S-10 pickup. I used the money earned from my yard/ebay sales to pay for gas and 1st month's rent/deposit on a cheap apartment and utils. Total cost to move = $0. Sure, I still have to sit/sleep/eat on the floor and will for the next couple months, but at least I have a job.

Re:Yeah...but (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780355)

Which places are those?

Re:Yeah...but (2, Informative)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780419)

No true. Millions of Mexicans come here illegally every year and do just this. It's not a problem with western people, it's a problem with entitled Americans and our keeping-up-with-the-Jonses cultural mindset.

Re:Yeah...but (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780349)

Maybe the same people saying that corporations should just hand over their wealth should be less of a bunch of dicks themselves by not eating up shit made in China and sold at WalMart? Maybe these same people can refuse to buy non-essential items made elsewhere and force companies to ship jobs back home? But, oh no, they're Americans, goddamnit! And if they need to buy every Pixar film they will even if it's made in China! Forget the mortgage, forget the unemployed. We need more smartphones and blu-ray players!

Re:Yeah...but (1, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780439)

If you buy an iphone, you approve of slavery and the destruction of America.

Which is just about everyone at this point

"We don't have an obligation..." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780227)

In Obama's USA you do.

Re:"We don't have an obligation..." (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780311)

How about some social responsibility?
If 25% of the world population would help others more, I think that most problems would be solved.
Too bad greed is inherent to humanity and not enough people rise about that basic level.

Re:"We don't have an obligation..." (-1, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780379)

How about we make fucking children legal? That will solve our economy. I mean why not? We have no fucking morals or ethics at all any more, might as well start selling the pretty children to rich pedos

No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (1, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780231)

The only reason they dislike the US so much is that workers have too much freedom versus the slave-labor countries that Apple uses.

If Apple really wanted to invest in the US, and not have contempt for worker freedoms, it would find that there would be no shortage or issue with getting the job done.

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780287)

at five times the cost?

Made in the usa means more expensive and lower quality on mass produced goods. On short runs, or one offs the standard is higher but if you need more than 1 million units a quarter USA labor just isn't a good value.

Just remember not many will buy a $3,000 smart phone. Just remember when Apple announced the iPad at $499 every company on the market that was doing the same thing had to shelve all their designs and start over as they were expecting a $999 tablet.

Besides the USA is Capitalism. Capitalism means to exploit the workers for the least amount possible. I don't know why people have such a hard time understanding that Capitalism working means the workers get screwed. it isn't useful to have happy employees.

Prove your absurd prices (4, Informative)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780341)

...instead of coming up with something nobody would pay.

Instead of $499, you'd get something more like $519-529.

Instead of $699, you'd get something more like $729-749.

The US is more than capable of the volume, just that business has to be given no alternative.

Re:Prove your absurd prices (-1, Flamebait)

pipatron (966506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780435)

Seems to me that your prices are just as made up. Adding false precision might fool a 10-year old to swallow your argument.

Re:Prove your absurd prices (0, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780477)

Dont buy American, dont buy chinese.

Dont buy anything. Fuck them. Let them all go out of business. Fuck technology.

We dont have to let corporations profit. We can simply let them fucking die by not buying their slave built goods

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (2)

paazin (719486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780357)

Actually if you look at the statistics [wallstreetpit.com] it looks like the cost of producing an iphone in China is dwarfed by all other costs -- so moving production elsewhere just be subtracting from an already lucrative profit and naught else.

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (4, Informative)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780431)

TFA says moving production to the US would add 65$ to labor costs.

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (3, Informative)

LordCrank (74800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780361)

The savings from using Chinese labor is actually estimated at 23%:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/17/jon-stewart-foxconn-siri-the-daily-show-video_n_1210556.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780427)

that 23% is also the difference between a successful product line and one shut down.

When your overall margin is 20-30% 23% is a big deal.

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780443)

Capitalism means to exploit the workers for the least amount possible.

Just like you exploit businesses by trying to get their products for the least amount possible?

Re:No, the US has too much freedom for Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780299)

Maybe, just maybe, the Western consumer shouldn't demand 'superior products' for low prices. Maybe they should vote with their wallet. Maybe you should not take on that variable interest loan. Maybe you should wonder: can i both have and eat my cake?

WTF... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780237)

and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea

Re:WTF... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780253)

Actually, they wanted to write ...

and then each slave was given a biscuit and a cup of tea

Re:WTF... (4, Funny)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780259)

Better than getting a flogging, which is what the slow ones got!

Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780241)

I see now, using these overseas better manufacturing plants allows Apple to meet their demand at product launch and overcome poor design choices. Way to go!

So, to translate: (5, Insightful)

Tsian (70839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780247)

"l. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames"

Of course having next to no labour laws or enforced practices, combined with a workforce housed on site results in amazing results when last minute changes (or ramp ups in production) need to happen.

I'm sure there are many areas of expertise and scale where overseas factories outperform their American counterparts, but is this really the best example to use?

Re:So, to translate: (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780295)

well, they did get a biscuit and a cup of tea as bonus for their extra hours at night...

Re: (4, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780297)

The only skill that the US doesn't have that these workers have is being overly pliant [merriam-webster.com] . Businesses hate freedom unless it is solely in the hands of business.

Re:So, to translate: (4, Insightful)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780303)

It's a great example, the majority of a population will always be doing relatively unskilled labour ... so this is what the majority has to compete with in a free trade global marketplace. They have simply stopped caring about the opinion of the 99.9%'s to the point where they don't even bother lying about it any more ... which is kind of scary.

Re:So, to translate: (5, Insightful)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780381)

I thought the same thing. Do we really want millions of americans living in factory dormitories making barely enough money to send a few dollars a month home to their family's village, where there is likely no running water and everyone subsists on a diet of rice, vegetables, and a few servings of protein a week? Seriously... if an american factory worker has to compete against that, then there is no point in even bothering.

Perhaps that needs to be forced onto Apple (5, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780249)

But ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"

If Apple had no other option, they would still be able to make high-quality products with large-scale US labor. A tariff based on worker freedom that punishes the practices of China et al while it rewards the practices of the US and EU with tax deals would go a long way.

The only good thing to do is to make it not only Apple's obligation, but everyone's obligation that sells in the US.

Re:Perhaps that needs to be forced onto Apple (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780319)

But but .... free trade floats all boats!

First, you must have a boat. (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780429)

Free trade floats the boat-holding business owners, but drowns the boatless individuals that are not business owners.

Re:Perhaps that needs to be forced onto Apple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780463)

It's really true, actually; free trade has lifted at least a billion people in SW Asia from complete dire poverty to being able to have a safe, clean dormitory and a biscuit, with a little additional money to send home. You view that as shitty abuse of humans, which it is. However, for those people, and they are people, the option without free trade is so incredibly horrible that your western mind won't even watch movies that depict it.

Re:Perhaps that needs to be forced onto Apple (4, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780491)

Free trade fucked America. The rich found a cheat code and won the game.

Break it down (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780255)

Looking at the things that enabled the production flexibility, I imagined what would happen if an American company sought those abilities, and to each one, either the government or a union would have not only said "no" but "Hell no."

As to the logistics of mega factories and mega industrial zones with hundreds of other related manufacturing facilities located close together .... environmentalists and, again, the government would be saying "Hell no."

It's funny. Communists in China get it done, while Communists in America prevent it from being done.

Re:Break it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780383)

Well it makes sense because they both hate America and would like to see its downfall.

Why do you hate America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780407)

...and all the freedoms for which it has?

The solution to compete against slave labor (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780257)

Don't even try! We need to perfect our laser powered reductive fabrication technology. Fully Integrate robotics into the assembly line and hook it all up to renewable energy sources. The whole plant will would probably employ a few dozen people, but at least they would be made locally and sustainably.

Straight from the horse's mouth (5, Insightful)

ody (100079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780261)

Wait, but I thought corporate 'persons' are job creators, whose taxes must be cut for the benefit of jobless Americans! If these "people" aren't willing to lose a little money to create jobs in America, then I may start to consider the possibility the trickle-down conservatives *may* have been wrong, all along!

is no longer a viable option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780275)

It is a viable option, just not the option that maximizes their hell of excessively huge margin on device prices. They have the viable option of producing in the US, loose few bucks of margin on each device and still be very profitable. They might be right this is not the best option for shareholders, but this is in all cases a viable option, especially because money they loose in paying more expensive workforce comes back when the employees and their families purchase more gadgets from the company that gives them bread and butter.

"Not Our Job" (4, Insightful)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780279)

'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"

Correct, you don't have an obligation to solve America's problems, you do however have an obligation to ensure fair working conditions and above-starvation wages for your workers. I wonder whether those 8000 workers who were raised from the company dormitories were paid overtime rates? And how much of their wage is docked for the "privelege" of living in said dormitories. Globalisation of manufacturing is a necessary and logical step forward, but it does need to be accompanied by fair working conditions, a matter on which Apple's manufacturers have a poor record.

Re:"Not Our Job" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780323)

They got a biscuit and a cup of tea. that's probably "overtime rate" there.
Well, if the snack isn't coming from their wages, at least.

Thing is, they said "speed and flexibility", but meant "we can flay our slaves as much as we want".

It all makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780283)

Slave labor doesn't sound so bad when you call it a sweat shop and do it overseas.

With a little less sugar coating (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780285)

Workers in dormitories
24/7 uncompensated on-call
12-hour shifts

Not mentioned:
worker safety
Triangle Shirtwaist Company

Shorter summary:
All the USA needs to be a better place for companies like Apple is to repeal the last 120 years.

What you left out... (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780317)

As bad as it may be in a factory, it's better than staying in the village with no electricity or running water and trying to eek out an existence as a subsistence farmer.

Re:What you left out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780377)

In other news, being tortured is better than being murdered.

Re:What you left out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780405)

Shhh this is slashdot, we're hating on Apple here, don't try and confuse the matter with facts.

Re:What you left out... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780421)

Is it? My grandparents were subsistence farmers living in China who never had more than $25 USD, now they live in an apartment. My grandfather says he was much happier living of the land. Now he is just waiting to die.

Im a dual citizen USA & China living in the USA.

Re:What you left out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780487)

>As bad as it may be in a factory, it's better than staying in the village with no electricity or running water and trying to eek out an existence as a subsistence farmer.

Who are you to judge?

Dormitories? (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780289)

I would be very interested in seeing photos of those dormitories, to compare them to the dormitories that Apple supplies to their workforce in the USA. Then they would be in a position to say that offshoring the work was beyond the matter of costs.

The real ones, not the Potemkin Village. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780315)

A surprise, onsite inspection would be far better. Otherwise you just get a Potemkin Village demonstration that things are cleaner than they actually are.

Re:Dormitories? (1, Offtopic)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780359)

http://www.iceo.com.cn/phore/2010/0527/194406_7.shtml [iceo.com.cn]

This is from a chinese journalism website that got permission to enter the foxconn facility after the suicide incident.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285980/Revealed-Inside-Chinese-suicide-sweatshop-workers-toil-34-hour-shifts-make-iPod.html [dailymail.co.uk]

This is a link to an article with a picture of a Foxconn dormitory, although it looks vacated. However, the article is an anti-apple article. Do with it what you wish.

Re:Dormitories? (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780371)

By the way, the comment on the photo fro the Chinese website, says that in the average dorm room in a Foxconn dormitory, there are 8-10 people.

Translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780305)

We don't care if we screw up or change our mind at the last minute. We expect others to work slavish hours to compensate for our mistakes, because of our fickleness or just on our whim. We can't make the American worker do this anymore because, even as bad as the economy is, many of them have other options or have unions to protect them from this. Even if the American worker didn't have other options once word got out Apple would get a bad rap. We don't have to worry about that when our factories are in a place where the workers don't speak English and our treating them like serfs will unlikely get back to the US press for a long time. And rather than admit we are selfish assholes who feel entitled to get what we want when we want it we are going to call the American worker lazy, call the US manufacturing base lazy or come up with any other excuse we can that allows us to feel OK about how we treat these uneducated, poor workers.

Surprise, surprise... (5, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780307)

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option

It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. The jobs were initially shipped overseas due to the cheap workforce. Then the overseas workforce built up their skills because those skills were in demand and being used, meanwhile the skills of American workers atrophied because no company wanted to use them. The overseas manufacturing facilities were heavily invested in because that is where the cheap sweat-shop labor was, and still is. Do you know the working conditions at these factories are so bad that the companies install suicide nets [alien-earth.org] around the building to catch the workers trying to commit suicide by jumping off the roof? Do you know that the workers in those factories are required to sleep 8 to 10 people in a dorm room, and they are not allowed to talk or socialize with their roommates?

Now it is at the point that manufacturing in the US has been neglected for so long, that to catchup and compete is a daunting task. And no company wants to make the investment in American people and manufacturing infrastructure anymore.

The Apple execs are being very self-serving in their rationalizations for abandoning the American worker. They are just trying to paint a smiley face on a sad situation.

In reality it is the American companies that neglected the American workforce and manufacturing infrastructure for cheap overseas labor. Then the American companies invested in the overseas workforce.

Re:Surprise, surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780397)

EXACTLY, and thank you for putting it perfectly.

This mentality pisses me off. They went there for cheap labor and loose regulation which caused an atrophy of American manufacturing ability, and now they claim "we couldn't manufacture here even if we wanted to".

I don't blame any of them for the decisions made at any point. It WAS cheaper to go to Asia. The Asian's DO have better facilities than the US has now... what I do blame them for is narrowing the focus of their commentary to make it appear as though the current state of the US electronics manufacturing ability was somehow NOT brought on by the decisions of major players like Apple.

Re:Surprise, surprise... (0)

pipatron (966506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780479)

Do you know that the workers in those factories are required to sleep 8 to 10 people in a dorm room, and they are not allowed to talk or socialize with their roommates?

They also eat cats and dogs and have yellow skin!

Re:Surprise, surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780481)

Apple didn't lead the move to China. My G4 Tower was one of the last machines assembled in Sacramento, and then production was moved to San Diego. I understood immediately that they wanted to take advantage of cheap labor in Mexico.

But this was well after other companies had already moved production there. In an environment where all your competitors get to use Chinese labor, how can you afford not to? Either the U.S. will have to establish trade barriers again, or this is the way things will be.

Social responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780309)

Then they should follow their own HR tactics. If you don't like it here, then leave. I'm certain China will accept their corporate HQ. And, based on their own example, it should be up and running is less than 48 hours.

This is the same rhetoric that is under cutting the US competitiveness. Companies DO have a social responsibility to the country from which they gain many benefits.

Are they all blindfolded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780313)

or kept in the dark?

"guided to a workstation"

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780325)

From TFS:

the time Apple redesigned the iPhone's screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

How is this anecdote NOT just about "workers [being] cheaper abroad"?

In summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780327)

"Foreign workers are cheaper. WAY WAY WAYYYYYYYYY cheaper. And they accept tea and a biscuit in return for a 12 hour shift of mindless drudgery."

Shame on us for rejecting those terms! Every loyal American should be willing to bend over and take it up the rump repeatedly for their corporate overlord!

Didn't you people get the memo? The U$ isn't for us anymore, corporations are the new citizen! We're just the proles.

The arrogance of the executive (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780333)

The executive class of these companies have been farming out more and more work to China. They do so under the arrogant premise that the manufacturing can be done without learning the original design work. Already fair parts of the design work have been taken over by Chinese companies.

The arrogant part is in thinking that we are the only ones that can come up with a good design, that we can create 'intellectual property' and make profits solely off of that. Nature grants no exclusive rights to creativity or intelligence. There is no inherent reason that the creative minds in China can't take over the one piece we think we can exclusively own. This is why American companies are so big on intellectual property. They think they are the only ones that can do high profit design work and that this is the only thing worth doing.

One day these companies will wake up and realize that Apple etc need the ODM's far more than they need the brand names. They will simply refuse more contracts and start manufacturing their own original work. Apple etc will have no place to build or design their hardware and Foxconn etc will become the next Apple.

I give at most five years before we see Chinese brand names taking the place of our familiar brand names on our store shelves. By the time this happens there won't be a damn thing we can do about it in less than two decades.

Re:The arrogance of the executive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780411)

When the execs find themselves redundant, THAT'S when it will finally be time to protect American jobs and urge buying American. Not that there will be anything left to protect or buy...

Captcha: screwed

Re:The arrogance of the executive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780471)

I give at most five years before we see Chinese brand names taking the place of our familiar brand names on our store shelves. By the time this happens there won't be a damn thing we can do about it in less than two decades.

Not going to happen. Chinese love Western brands more than we do. Go there, visit an area where the privileged class live (you know, where people can actually buy things), see how people flaunt their BMW branded stuff, their designer handbags, their iPhones, their kids decked out in Disney swag. They want status symbols, and status symbols aren't chinese brands...

load of crap (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780337)

The reason manufacturing left the US is money. Loose, if any, environmental standards and dirt cheap labor. there was an abundance of skilled labor in the US up until about the mid 90s when offshoring caught on like wildfire. companies left the workforce hanging as design, engineering and manufacturing jobs left for china, india and korea. people holding those positions had to look for work elsewhere and in different fields.

Re:load of crap (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780399)

Yeah no shit, welcome to fucking 2000 you stupid fuck.

The problem is no one gives a shit to MAKE IT FUCKING ILLEGAL

Whatever their job is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780347)

They should take the filthy billions they have in the bank to BUILD a fucking factory that rivals the overseas shit and make USA # 1 again, ut nooooooo they just care about making a buck. Fuck Apple.

"Given a biscuit and tea and led to a workstation" Sounds like a fucking slave camp. Do tose workers actually sign up for that or does their government FORCE them to work there? I wonder..

Re:Whatever their job is.... (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780437)

While apple may save money by manufacturing overseas, they can take every penny they save and spend it on things like research and design. That creates high paying R&D jobs, which are much more attractive than the $10 an hour pay they would probably pay to a non union worker in a factory in the US.

Plus, i've heard from various sources that some of US factories, for textiles, actually employ immigrants at poor conditions not unlike the foxconn factories in China, enriching the factory owners and not the workers. If apple contracted out to other factories, similar situations may arise.

I remember seeing some statistics on slashdot that only about 2% of the purchase price of an iPhone was actual labor fees. So I don't think moving manufacturing stateside would actually enrich America that much. If anything, making sure they can meet demand with Chinese megafactories running 24/7 means they can employ people in sales, logistics, and the like over here. Much more pleasant jobs than manufacturing.

Apple is hates niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780351)

Put it this way, Apple is a racist slave company that employs asians.

What the proof? They wake up the slaves from their manufacturing plant dorms (yes they live on site) then give them a cookie and say "back to work gook nigger"

Fuck Apple. Steve jobs fucked children and raped the poor. Fuck America. Its a dead pile of shit.

Steve Jobs destroyed America. Fitting that he has terrorist blood in him. Fortunate for us, its cancer ridden. Fuck him, Fuck apple.. Glad hes dead, hopefully the slave company will follow

I'm looking foward to suicide at this point (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780387)

I hate this fucking country. I hope it dies.

The reason America can't (1)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780389)

Yeah....the reason that "no company in America can match that" is that any company that tried to would be facing legal prosecution with regards to indentured servitude, a human rights violation which is outlawed in the U.S. as far as I can tell. Nice omission there Apple.....

Re:The reason America can't (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780469)

Yeah....the reason that "no company in America can match that" is that any company that tried to would be facing legal prosecution with regards to indentured servitude, a human rights violation which is outlawed in the U.S. as far as I can tell. Nice omission there Apple.....

Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Amazon, and a host of other American companies use Foxconn. Some of them use the same exact plants. If the US prosecuted Apple, they would have to go after a large number of American companies.

Easy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780425)

by not being prepared to work for the same wages and the same conditions as the Chinese.

8000 workers??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780445)

The fact that they were able to find 8000 biscuits and cups of tea is astonishing in itself!

This is the very reason (0)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780447)

I will not buy an Apple product. Their arguments are pure bovine effluent. You could do the same in the U.S. But the thing they leave out is a huge environmental cost. And sooner than later, they're going to face the exact same thing in China and the rest of Asia.

leather flogg tipped in steel (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780461)

Rigid tariff and investment laws solve the problem in ONE (1) penstroke. Use-it-here/make-it-here/invest-it here or suffer crippling tariff/tax penalties. The Gub'mnt smoking gun-barrel in protection of the public good can persuade even a stiff-necked fecking-A smarmy social-Darwinist that 4% ROI is better then a bullet in the head. Raw materials excepted of-course as Adam Smith pronounced! Black-market sourcing is Coast-Guard target practice.

A bit more suger coating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38780465)

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the having to add 'no mass suicide packs' into their contracts?

China hasn't had their Abraham Lincoln, yet. (1)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780483)

So whipping the slaves into the fields is still very viable..

Thankfully no American match... (2)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38780493)

'There's no American plant that can match that.'

And that's because the US and most (all?) civilized countries have labour laws that are in place to provide certain minimum standards as far as health and safety goes... so your average US and European worker don't have to sleep in factory provided dormitories (and most likely pay a fair chunk of their paycheck for the privilege) and be forced to work 12 hour shifts.

Off course, labour laws in the west was prompted by things like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire [wikipedia.org] - in China such incidents are considered part of doing business.

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